Balyocha is a partially oxidized Korean tea with a unique manufacturing process. In Korea, which otherwise mainly produces green tea (nok-cha), interest in Balyocha has increased and today the tea is produced by both the large commercial producers and the small family farms. We take our Korean teas directly from a small family farm in Hwagae, Hadong, the oldest area for tea plantations and the area that still produces by far the best teas. Of the several Korean teas we tried, we found this family farm's teas to be in a class of their own. The Kim family produces their teas according to traditional methods from their own stock of semi-wild tea bushes that are grown completely without pesticides or fertilizers. The tea leaves are picked and processed by hand, and this Balyocha is made from tea leaves picked in the second week of May, the harvest known in Korea as jungjak. In Korea, the harvest is divided into four main harvest periods: ujeon, seejak, jungjak and daejak (daejak refers to all harvests that take place after jungjak and thus includes simpler qualities).
Balyocha is approximately 60-70 % oxidized and is produced by the tea leaves undergoing the following steps: a long drying outdoors in the shade, rolling (which is more extensive than that of green teas), a prolonged oxidation / drying that can take 1-2 days. That we have chosen to include Balyocha under oolong is due to the fact that the tea can almost be classified as an oolong in the sense that it is partially oxidized, but in practice it falls outside the framework of existing tea categories. In Korea, the term Hwang-cha (yellow tea) is sometimes used for teas made according to this method. Balyocha, on the other hand, means oxidized tea and can also denote other teas that have been oxidized. As balyocha oxidizes / dries at a temperature between 30-40 degrees, a natural bacterial flora benefits the tea leaves, which is healthy for humans. Overall, Balyocha is a tea with a unique character where the taste is soft and full-bodied, with warm tones of chocolate, hardwood and honey.
- 85-95 c
- 2-3 grams
- 2-4 min
Origin: Hwagae, Hadong, South Korea. Harvest: spring 2020.